It is a rare consensus when all the leaders of Britain's political parties get together to agree on something important:
Among other proposals, they call for the tax system to be “used to make healthy food cheaper and discourage unhealthy choices both at home and on our high streets”.In a world where there are a thousand problems ranging from poverty and family breakdown to murders and robberies, all our political leaders can manage to agree on is that food should be made more expensive. And who does this affect - has somebody mentioned to these sanctimonious fussbuckets that it will be the poorest in society who will be hurt most by this policy?
The leaders also say the levels of sugar, calories, salt and fat in junk food should be lowered overall, while more training should be given to medical staff to help people with nutrition.
We're told that we need more expensive food because obesity is one of the greatest health challenges of our time. Bigger than AIDs, more challenging than cancer, more cursed than malaria, more frightening than dementia. Yes folks, you need to pay more for your food because, damn it, you're all a bunch of lard buckets and the government needs to force you to eat properly. It's for the children.
Yes. The Children. Those children whose mums and dads won't be able to buy as much food as they did before because a self-righteous bunch of snobbish know-alls marshalled by a fat TV chef have decided this will be good for you. I know they'll tell you it's only "junk food" but this isn't true - it'll be bread and cheese and butter and bacon and cereals and burgers and orange juice and...over half of what you buy to make up a balanced diet for you family is what these tinpot health dictators call HFSS (high in fat, sugar and salt). And these jumped up nannies want it all to be more expensive - so your children (who almost certainly aren't fat) don't turn into obese whales and die before you do.
Worse, the plans aren't just about making the everyday food you feed your family more expensive, they'll make it taste less good by forcing the manufacturers to take out the sugar, salt and fat that gives it the great taste.
There is no obesity crisis. It is a manufactured moral panic based on flimsy (I'm being kind here) evidence that we're all getting fatter and fatter. We aren't - we're on average a bit heavier than we were in the 1980s but this is not unhealthy (it could be argued it's actually healthy). The figures are skewed by an ageing population - middle age spread is, as we all know, a reality - and haven't risen for a decade.
I'm probably shouting into the void here but we really need to tell Jamie Oliver, Hugh Thingy-Wotsit, Channel 4, the BBC, leaders of political parties who'll do anything for a cheap headline in the Guardian (every snobby fussbucket's favourite rag), and the massed hordes of public health campaigners to go take a running jump off a very high cliff. We don't need a load of rules telling food manufacturers what they can and cannot put in what they sell (other than ones to make sure it's safe). We don't need a bunch of prissy middle-class media sorts going around telling ordinary people - on the basis of no knowledge or expertise - what they can and cannot buy to feed their children. And, above all, we don't need a load more new taxes designed specifically to make food - food ffs, the basis of life - more expensive. Just leave us alone will you.